I recently read a blog post in which the author remembers the moment she stopped needing other people, the day she decided she was in control. Nothing could hurt her. She was a kid. That has stuck with me, it hit a nerve. She has given words to how I have felt since maybe ten years old. My life was a lot of disappointment and lies. Parents saying they would show up and take me for dinner or just to hang out or to call and they didn’t. I’m not unique in that, ask any child of divorce and you will hear the same thing over and over. To put it simply it’s dick and it’s even harder to fathom when you have your own kids. I don’t think I can disappoint my kids. Now, that doesn’t mean my kids aren’t disappointed. Sure if I say we are going to Target, they think in their minds- bingo we are getting toys and sure they are disappointed when we walk out sans Lego’s, but life goes on and there’s a gazillion Lego’s lying around at home. But I would not say, hey we are going to dinner at your favorite place Saturday night, to just space on it and not follow through. I also would never say I’ll call you and not do it. I mean when my parents did it they were probably out getting drunk so they wouldn’t call. But come on, I’ve been out with friends and my kids were at home with a sitter and while I was not getting wasted, my kids are always on my mind or on discussion if I’m with my friends and we are talking kids. So how could my parents and every other child of divorced parents mom and dad forget to make contact with their kids. Back to my point, it was sometime after the multiple missed appointments, calls, sporting games, school functions, etc. that I shut it off. They were not going to see me upset every again, I was not going to give them the power of seeing me hurt. I was in charge of me and I did not have to show emotional connections to anyone, even my grandparents who stepped up and raised me. That one I regret, I regret my teen angst which I took out on them instead of my mom and dad. When ever you have someone in your life who hurts you you become so desperate for their attention that you will never say anything bad about them or think bad things about them, even though you know its true, in my case I lashed out at the people who were raising me and loving me, because it was easier, they weren’t going to walk out on me, like my parents did.
So there it is, I’ve been cold ever since. I don’t warm up to people for a very long time. I need to build total trust and once that happens, I’m the best friend you can imagine. All of my close friends now I’ve known well over ten years and some maybe twenty years. I also don’t have many aquantainces I would hang out with. I only hang out with my close friends that I really trust. And my best friends were shocked several years ago when I told them a bit of my upbringing story, because after 15 years I thought I could. I’m good at keeping things inside and keeping a good poker face. I don’t get choked up at anything, unless it’s pet abuse, that really can get to me, but for the most part I remove myself from emotional situations. It’s my coping mechanism wrong or right, but after being hurt and disappointed by my parents, I needed to always be in control. I focused myself, got good grades, went to good schools, got good jobs because I wanted to be beyond that person I was brought up to be. And I was my own motivator. Sometimes it’s lonely to live like this, but I’m slowly breaking down my walls. I think there are many people in this world who live this way, because it is a response mechanism for so many people who have been hurt. It was amazing though after almost 40 years, to read this in words, was like a light bulb moment for me and all I could think of was wow, that’s what I did and how I chose to live. And you know what I don’t fault my parents, both of them had PTSD for different issues and I think if you can’t have control over your own life you certainly can’t be raising a child. Does that suck- yes, but it is what it is and my kids benefit because they are my universe and I can’t imagine it any other way.